Receiving Large Sums of Money from Abroad

By 
Alon Rajic
Last Edited Nov 06, 2023

Receiving money from abroad can be tricky sometimes.

Particularly, if you are about to receive a large sum.

Not only the process itself can be new and intimidating…

There are associated fees that come with it, and it’s sometimes hard to understand the true costs.

Unaware, customers may be 2.5% in currency spreads on a transfer.

For a large transfer of £100,000 that’s 2.5k in fees.

The costs of a large transfer with banks

International bank transfer fees are very high… and will also apply when receiving money to your bank.

Our indicative research on banks around the world and their money transfer fees showed that you could be paying as much as 4 or 5 per cent on your transfer in foreign exchange fees.

In the U.S, Chase bank charges more than 3% on USD to Pound and Euro transfers.

In Australia, ANZ charges as much as 4% on those corridors.

In Europe, the margins are a bit tighter but still as much as 2.4% by Caixa Bank in Spain.

Intermediate bank fees may also apply and further trim down the amount received.

usbankfees

Bank service by banks: inadequate for large amounts

Then there’s the service aspect, which can be the most frustrating part of the experience if you’re with the wrong bank or provider.

Customers frequently feel left in the lurch, with no one answering their calls.

In Australia, the aforementioned ANZ bank has 1.3/5 stars rating on ProductReview.

In the USA, the aforementioned Chase bank gets the same score on TrustPilot.

Other banks get horrible reviews as well, almost unanimously worldwide, so these two banks don’t stand out – they are literally a random pick.

Cost-lowering alternatives

The good news are that there are more friendlier, best-servicing, cost-effective ways to receive a large sum of money from abroad.

Whether you are moving money between your shared accounts, receiving a business payment, a personal payment, inheritance…

You could be receiving those funds domestically, in local currency, with a person escorting you in the process –

And save up on a whole heap of the hassle as well as the costs associated with getting large sums to your bank account from abroad.

Here is how.

Best Rated for Large Amounts on Money Transfer Comparison

#1
UK EU USA Currencies Direct: Best Overall for International Money Transfers
Headquarters:
1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5AA, UK
97.8% Editorial rating
7,500 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
£100 / €100 / $100 or equivalent
Why Them?
  • 96% Positive Feedback from Customers, Since 1996
  • Service Oriented - Specialising in Large Transfers - Friendly Dealers
  • Very Competitive Rates, No Wire Fees
+Read more
1
Currencies Direct
Currencies Direct: Best Overall for International Money Transfers
97.8%
Editorial rating
#2
UK Australia EU TorFX: Strong Guidance and Staff
Headquarters:
Pz360, St Mary's Terrace,Penzance, Cornwall, TR18 4DZ, UK
93.4% Editorial rating
5,500 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
£100 / €100 / $100 or equivalent
Why Them?
  • HQ Outside of London - Lower Staff Costs Rolled Over to the Client
  • Quick Onboarding Process and Highly Professional
  • Trading Desk with 100+ Years of Experience
+Read more
2
Torfx
TorFX: Strong Guidance and Staff
93.4%
Editorial rating
#3
UK EU USA UAE moneycorp: Oldest and Most Reputable Foreign Exchange Service
Headquarters:
Zig Zag Building, 70 Victoria St, Westminster, London SW1E 6SQ, UK
93.2% Editorial rating
7,000 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
£50 / €50 / $50 or equivalent
Why Them?
  • Providing FX Services since 1979
  • Very Recognisable Brand with Excellent Reputation - £36.9in Transfers Annually with Offices in Every Continent
  • Business Specialists
+Read more
3
Moneycorp
moneycorp: Oldest and Most Reputable Foreign Exchange Service
93.2%
Editorial rating
#4
UK EU USA Australia NZ Xe: Biggest Name in Currency Since 1993
Local UK Offices:
Maxis 1, Western Road, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 1RT, UK
91.3% Editorial rating
62,000 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
£50 / €50 / $50 or equivalent
Why Them?
  • Excellent Sign Up Process
  • Global Company with Strong Presence in the UK (HiFX, one of the best known UK brokers, was merged into Xe)
  • Combination of Work-Of-Art Online System with Brokerage for Large Transfers
+Read more
4
Xe
Xe: Biggest Name in Currency Since 1993
91.3%
Editorial rating
#5
UK Spain Key Currency: Up and Coming Currency Broker with Local Presence UK/Spain
Local British Offices:
St Piran House, Technology Park, Heron Way, Truro TR1 2XN, United Kingdom
90.8% Editorial rating
800 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
€250
Why Them?
  • Fastest Growing UK Currency Transfer Provider
  • Strong Onboard Team, Get an Immediate Callback
  • Recipient of Multiple Industry Awards
+Read more
5
Key Currency
Key Currency: Up and Coming Currency Broker with Local Presence UK/Spain
90.8%
Editorial rating
#6
UK EU Canada Corpay: 99% Positive Client Feedback
Headquarters:
20 Wood St, London EC2V 7AF
90.6% Editorial rating
4,400 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
£1,000/€1,000 or equivalent
Why Them?
  • 99% of its Past Clients Gave the Firm a Positive Review
  • Strong Global Reach with Offices in UK, Europe, and Canada
  • More than Two Decades of Experience
+Read more
6
Corpay
Corpay: 99% Positive Client Feedback
90.6%
Editorial rating
#7
UK EU Brazil Currency Solutions: Best Money Transfer on TrustPilot
Headquarters:
21 Queen Elizabeth St, London SE1 2PD
90.4% Editorial rating
1,900 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
£1,000
Why Them?
  • Best Customer Satisfaction Score on TrustPilot
  • Welcoming and Clear Website, Easy to Sign Up
  • Excellent Currency Transfer Rates
+Read more
7
Currency Solutions
Currency Solutions: Best Money Transfer on TrustPilot
90.4%
Editorial rating
#8
Australia UK EU USA New Zealand OFX: The Publicly-Traded Money Transfer Company from Down Under
Headquarters:
Level 19, 60 Margaret St, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia
90.4% Editorial rating
1,500 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
£100 / €100 / $100 or equivalent
Why Them?
  • Traded Publicly in Australia
  • £20bn Turnover per Year
  • Ultra Professional
+Read more
8
OFX
OFX: The Publicly-Traded Money Transfer Company from Down Under
90.4%
Editorial rating
#9
UK Halo Financial: Excellent Online Platform and Support
Headquarters:
Battersea Studios 2, 82 Silverthorne Rd, Nine Elms, London SW8 3HE
87.3% Editorial rating
100 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
£1,000
Why Them?
  • Feefo 2020 Platinum Trusted Provider
  • Excellent Website and Online Flow
  • Highly Professional
+Read more
9
Halo Financial
Halo Financial: Excellent Online Platform and Support
87.3%
Editorial rating
#10
EU UK USA Australia Wise (Previously TransferWise): Valued at £10bn
Headquarters:
17 Avenue Marnix, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
86.8% Editorial rating
32,000 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
No Minimum
Why Them?
  • Largest Money Transfer Provider of its Kind
  • Fully-Online Journey
  • Transparent Pricing
+Read more
10
Wise / TransferWise
Wise (Previously TransferWise): Valued at £10bn
86.8%
Editorial rating

 

How To Receive Large Amounts from Abroad?

Step 1: Choose a Service Provider

You may think the process to receive large sums in a non-bank provider would be lengthy and complicated, but it is, in fact, surprisingly simple.

The actual dollar size of the transfer doesn’t matter, too. These companies, and specificallybforeign currency brokers, are accustomed to trades in the hundreds of thousands or more.

The research starts by understanding whether this service fits you.

 

The typical costumer of a money transfer service geared at high-volumes transfers would normally be 

1. A person selling an asset abroad and moving funds back to his back account.

2. A person or a company repatriating funds from abroad. Most commonly, people who are moving back to the UK after living abroad.

3. Professional service providers who get paid from abroad.

4. A person employed by a foreigner company and receives some or all of his salary in FX.

It’s incredibly important to choose the right provider nowadays in particular.

The cost of moving abroad is at a record high due to the pandemic and its by product of inflation.

So did property around the world, as well as business costs.

 

What to look for

Throughout our 90+ reviews of money transfer services we have focused on a multitude of functions.

But if I was to fine-tune it to large transfers then it’s definitely those 5 playing a big role.

  • Safety and Security
  • Costs
  • Banking infrastructure (where do they have an account abroad)
  • Additional functions geared at high-volume transfers

 

Safety and security is rather straightforward.

When it comes to regulation you can read our money transfer regulation by the FCA guide.

Essentially FCA authorised firms are subject to many checks and inspections.

 

Costs I’ve discussed before, showing you could pay a lot when receiving large amounts.

The most important fee is not the wire fee, but rather than exchange rate spreads.

The higher the spread, the higher % fees you will pay on your transfer.

You should be looking to pay a lot less than half of the 3% bank markup.

 

Banking infrastructure is crucial because you will want to have multiple bank accounts in multiple countries.

You want the payee (or your bank account abroad) will be able to transfer the money to a domestic bank account in domestic currency (which will be then sent over to you in Pound Sterling or whichever currency you’d like it to be).

For that you will need your provider to have many bank accounts.

Large providers are normally regulated to operate in more regions than botique brokerages.

For example, OFX is able to receive money from the UK, USA, Europe, Singapore, HK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – so almost a full coverage.

 

Additional functions include guidance and rate alert to help you time your currency exchange better.

You could receive the funds in foreign currency and then leave it in the account and exchange in a more optimal timing.

Or time your payment / transfer in a way that would be optimal in terms of the rates.

Otherwise, you could opt to hedge your transfer with tools like a Forward Contract (locking today’s rate to the future).

These futures could be very helpful specifically for businesses and large sums.

 

Step 2: Create an Account With One or More Providers, Get a Quote

After you conduct your research, you could shortlist the money transfer services you liked most and sign up with multiple firms.

You may ask if this is not excessive but when it comes to large amounts of money, you could potentially negotiate the rate offered to your by the provider.

That means that signing up with several providers will allow you to let them compete each to give you the absolute top dollar price.

Signing up is normally very quick and for the most part, online, using top of the line technology to help verify your identity using simple things like a selfie with your ID and photocopies of bills.

It might be a longer process to sign up outside the UK (if you don’t have a British identity) but not necessarily so.

Step 3: Use a Provider to Receive Large Foreign Currency Payments

With the right provider, you won’t be confused with the terminology relating to the transfer itself which can be enough to throw anyone out of their comfort zone.

Ask yourself:

  • Who needs to memorise terms like SWIFT, IBAN, Sort Code, Bank Identifier Number, Receiving Bank, and Intermediary bank fees?
  • Who needs to check whether their online banking account supports receiving payments from abroad?
  • Attempt to calculate when the money will arrive based on various time zones, or enquire for further information through endless and hectic exchanges with a non-communicative payment provider (i.e. bank)?
  • Who can’t even give real time indications regarding a bank transfer when it’s delayed?
  • Who wants to feel they may receive less attention than other customers i.e. large corporate clients who have direct access to the FX room?

Through a good company that gives you personalised guidance on the transfer, you will have a real human, with flesh and bones and all, addressing your queries.

How receiving money from abroad works?

As mentioned earlier, foreign exchange firms are just mediators between banks and consumers.

That means that in order to get paid from abroad, or receive funds from your own international bank account, the payment should at some point be moved to their ring-fenced client accounts, exchanged to local currency, and then sent to your account (where you receive it in the currency you desire).

By doing so, you should also be avoiding recipient fees.

This on top of your foreign exchange provider offering bank-beating exchange ratesץ

In practice, how it would work is that after you agree on the transfer with your provider, they will provide you with the bank details of that ring-fenced “joint” bank account.

You simply pass that on to the person sending the money, and you will get notified as soon as the money hit the account!

Here’s an example of how you can receive money from Spain to a UK bank account number with a specialist currency provider:

How long does it take to receive money from abroad?

That question is completely depends on the sending party rather than the receiving party.

It’s true that with some banks, money could be received on the main bank branch and then it will take up to 5 days until you are able to see it in your account… but for the most part, in most case, you will see the funds in your account as soon as they arrive.

How long will it take them to arrive? anywhere between instantly and 5 working days, depending on the corridor, and which provider you are using.

Wise offers an instant send/receive function for two customers who are registered with the company.

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